CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPECT, ANY WOODEN ARROW CAN BE BROKEN IF YOU GO ABOUT IT THE RIGHT WAY.
I suspect that the weakest point of any bamboo arrow might be the nodes often seen on bamboo. These nodes are a part of the annual growth of bamboo, and thus they are unavoidable. This is true of all reed plants, not just bamboo. I did break one of my arrows that day.
However, I broke it because I didn’t pull it correctly from the target. It often happens that any wooden arrow will break if pulled incorrectly. I think this is especially true of bamboo arrows. I recommend placing your hand against the target and pulling these arrows out straight and even. I haven’t broken any since I started paying attention to how I pulled my arrows from a target!
THE KEY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS PAGE…
While I do claim that my high quality bamboo arrows are the toughest wooden arrows you will find, I DO NOT CLAIM THEY ARE INDESTRUCTIBLE! These arrows are quite easy to break if you pull them incorrectly, or you put them into a target while they are still flexing in flight. As a rule of thumb, any target less than 10 yards is a bad idea. Sorry, but those broken arrows are on you. I can’t be responsible for that.
In the images above, you can see a very common thread to breaking a bamboo (or any wooden) arrow. The first image on the left show what can happen when you shoot a bamboo arrow into a target at 5 yards. Since the arrow is still flexing, there is an excellent chance it will “whip” when it hits and snap.
The second image was sent by a customer who didn’t pull the arrow from a target properly. He reached halfway down the shaft and pulled it like a carbon arrow. That’s when he heard the “SNAP”.
The third image was a bamboo arrow which shattered when put into a tree at about 10 yards. This would seem predictable.
The fourth image is self explanatory!
I had Todd make me up a few of his Black Arrows to test on my laminate Mongol style bow which is (52# @ 32″). I’ll first say that I love the feel of these lovely bamboo shafts and hand-made steel points. Compared to the carbon arrows I shoot they feel very organic, for a lack of a better word. They shoot just as accurately as any carbon. And while they are tough, they wouldn’t survive a brick wall.
However, as I compare them to other types of wood arrows, they are so much more resilient. I sometimes use a closer distance of 8-10 feet with my makiwara straw target to practice technique. Most wooden arrows can’t hold up, they snap in half because they have so much dynamic spine or flex. The end of the wood arrow is still whipping when it hits the target. This can even happen with longer distances with wood arrows (the Mongols bows can have quite a kick!) I often use carbon for this type of close-range archery practice.
I tried the bamboo arrows on the makiwara at 25 yards with no problem at all. They performed very well…but with one exception! I did have one split (not snap in half) about 2/3 of the way up from the point while shooting at 25 yards. It is my suspicion that either there was an existing, undetected flaw in the shaft which announced itself when I put it into a slightly tougher target such as my makawari target.